May 27, 2005

You Asked, Janette Answers

It's the Common Sense Runs Wild Interview!

On a dark and rainy night in November, 2004--several weeks after the
election--you started blogging. Why?

Before the election I was very active in a few different on line forums and followed several great bloggers. I was comfortable that The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy had things under control with out a new blog from me.

I decided to start my blog on November 30th, because that date is particularly significant to me.

It's a little unusual for a female blogger to concentrate so heavily
on politics without interspersing a lot of personal-type posts. Do
you think you've gotten more attention as a female political blogger
than you would if you were male?

I'm in the top 100 in the Ecosystem and the top 2000 on Technorati and I didn't have to sleep with a single person ranked below me to get there. I don't think being female has helped me get attention at all. I don't post photos of myself or dwell on being a woman. In the Ecosystem top 100 only about 10% are solo females so it doesn't seem to me like being female is that big of an asset.

If you could have 100,000 hits a day and no feedback whatsoever
(comments, e-mail, trackbacks, etc) or 50 hits a day with an engaged
audience, which would you choose?

Can't I have both? No, I know that the two are mutually exclusive. To me, interaction is what blogging is all about. If you don't interact with your readers you're not blogging, you're writing an on line opinion column. There's no choice for me: 50 hits a day with an engaged audience.

The higher the hits on my blog the less time I have to spend on the interaction. I'm at my happiest with about 500 hits a day. I feel like I'm getting a little attention, I get to interact with fellow bloggers and readers, and I still have time to actually blog. When traffic increases my ability to reply to comments and e-mails decreases (and I'm horrible about answering my e-mail anyway). When my hits go to around 1500 to 2000 I love the numbers but blogging becomes less fun. That's why I cut loose every now and then and just play around. I post less, post less serious stuff, comment on other people's blogs more and return to on line forums that I enjoy.

When a new subject that really interests me comes along I "narrow my focus" and increase my post output for a bit. I can't ever sustain that for too long, I have a short attention span.

What is The Bandwagon?

The Bandwagon is Jody Becker's fantastic blog Steal The Bandwagon. Jody and I are both Florida bloggers and we found each other at the beginning of the Terri Schiavo blogburst and we"blogsit" for each other as needed. Even though we live only 60 miles apart we've never met in person.

Do you blog at any other sites?

I do participate in some other on line forums but Common Sense Runs Wild and Steal The Bandwagon are the only blogs I've ever written for.

What kinds of things do you look for (as a reader) in a blog?

There are a few blogs that I make exceptions for but in general: (1) Blogs must allow comments and/or trackbacks. (2) The author must have a distinctive "voice" and add some personality. (3) A well informed opinion that makes me rethink my position on issues or offer a new angle in the discussion. (4) They can't have their ego completely wrapped around their blog.

You have an extensive blogroll. Do you visit all those sites every day?

I do get some sleep so that's not really possible. The sites on the main blogroll are the ones that I visit the most. Some I visit compulsively, every time I pass the computer, some at least once a day and the rest at least once a week. I have a routine that I follow that make certain I don't miss anyone. As for the blogs that are listed on the blogroll feeds like Blogs for Bush, Blogs for Terri, Homespun Bloggers,etc. I hit those randomly on the weekends when I blog less. Those are great for finding interesting new blogs.

I add new blogs almost compulsively, if I see a site that I really enjoy I'll add it. I try to stay under 150 in the main Blogs column but right now it's around 170. Once every month or so I ruthlessly clean out the blogroll, delinking those that have gone idle or haven't written anything that interested me in the last month.

Who are your favorite bloggers?

You've seen the blogroll, I have dozens of favorites! If I had to start a new blogroll from scratch the first to go on would be: Baldilocks, Michelle Malkin, MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Pirate's Cove, Steal the Bandwagon, The Anchoress, What Attitude Problem? Someone also directed me to Sand In The Gears by Tony Woodlief. He a great blogger with an awesome "voice" and I'm reading my way through his archives.

Your "biography" doesn't tell us a whole lot about you. Is this by design?


Besides blogging, how do you spend your free time?

I enjoy fine dining, long walks on the beach, sunsets and margaritas.

What do you do for a living?

What? Sorry you broke up there, I couldn't hear the question.

It's 11:00 at night and everyone is sleeping. You get the munchies.
What do you eat?

Cheese and crackers or raisin bran cereal but I'm not really one for late night snacking.

It's 11:00 at night and everyone is sleeping. You feel like watching
a movie. Which one?

Any Audrey Hepburn movie. Roman Holiday is my favorite: "So happy."

It's 11:00 at night and everyone is sleeping. You hear some terrible
news of a non-personal nature. What is the first thing you do?

Probably blog about, I'm sure I'd be on the Internet anyway.

Have you always been politically conservative?

Yes. I always credit Ronald Reagan with that but, in all honesty, it probably has just as much to with Jimmy Carter.

Do you find President Bush's use of the word "patriot" at all
disturbing? Such as the Patriot Act for starters.

I find the President's use of the word "patriot" far less disturbing than Lakoff's advice to the Left to abrogate the term "moral values" and replace it with "progressive family values." The Left's decision to focus on redefining the terms used to describe the differences between conservatives and liberals, rather than to deal with the actual reasons that they lost the election, is indicative of their disconnect with the majority of Americans.

Conservatives find it hard to be offended by a word like patriot, the American flag and an occasional image of a cross and quite amusing to mock those who are.

Do you think that being a blogger "against" something ( i.e. Hillary)
is more effective than being a blogger "for" something (i.e. someone
who is not Hillary)?

Luckily Hillary isn't the entire focus of my blog. That/she would get old and boring very quickly. I'm sure I'll blog more about her closer to 2008 but there's plenty of other things to focus on between now and then.

As for effectiveness, I think that depends upon being well informed and passionate. Once you have those two things taken care of you tend to blog more about a particular subject. Blogging for the most part is a numbers game: the more posts you make, the more hits you get. They key is to be good enough that people will come back to read your work again.

If you could tell a few dozen strangers anything about yourself, what
would it be?

That I don't like telling strangers, no matter the number, anything about myself.

If you could buy anything in the world for one person in the world,
who would it be and what would you give them?

I'd buy my husband a 29 foot sailboat (a completely unselfish gesture on my part, I assure you.)

Posted by Jennifer at May 27, 2005 09:30 AM


Is november 30th significant to you because it's my birthday? Aw, how sweet of you. And slightly stalkerish.

Posted by: shank at May 27, 2005 11:33 AM

Shank ~ Only slightly? I'll have to try harder next time.

Posted by: Janette Stripling at May 27, 2005 12:58 PM